DIY How To

Part P Information & Guide

DIY Projects - Part P

Part P was introduced to improve the safety of electrical work carried out within the home and garden, it became law in England and Wales on 1st January 2005

When did the new rules start?

  • From 1 January 2005, people carrying out electrical work in homes and gardens in England and Wales have had to follow the new rules in the Building Regulations.


Why have you introduced the new rules?

  • To reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations.
  • To make it harder for 'cowboy builders' to leave electrical installations in an unsafe condition.

What should I do if I want to do some electrical work?

  • See the flow chart to check if you need to tell your local authority's Building Control Department before you start the work.

What will happen if I do not follow the Building Regulations?

  • The electrical installation might not be safe.
  • You will have no record of the work done.
  • You may have difficulty selling your home if you do not have the right electrical safety certificates.
  • Your local authority's Building Control Department may insist that you put right faulty work.

How to meet the new rules

Part P

A: You do not need to tell your local authority's Building Control Department about:

  • repairs, replacements and maintenance work; or
  • extra power points or lighting points or other alterations to existing circuits (except in a kitchen or bathroom, or outdoors).

You need to tell them about most other work.
If you are not sure about this, or you have any questions, ask your local authority's Building Control Department.

 

B: Why should I use an installer who is registered with a competent person scheme?

  • Members of schemes can deal with all the new rules for you.
  • Members are qualified to carry out electrical work.
  • Members will give you a certificate to confirm their work follows the new rules.
  • You will not have to pay Building Control charges.
  • You will have the option of taking out an insurance-backed guarantee for the work.
  • You will have access to a formal complaints procedure if you are not happy with the work.

To contact a tradesman that is registered with one of the competent person schemes, use our Tradesmen/Professional search facility.

Registered installers are in the process of becoming members of the new building trades Quality Schemes which will be launched in 2005. Quality Schemes members will offer consumers more protection than the minimum protection registered installers must offer.

Important: New colours for mains electricity cables

The colours of the live and neutral wires in electrical cables have changed from red and black to brown and blue. This is the same as the wires in flexible leads to portable appliances.

From 1 April 2006 all new wiring must be in the new colours.

 

Cable colours

 


DIY Projects - Part P Guide


Do I need to notify electrical work?

Except as identified in the chart below, notification of proposals to carry out electrical installation work in a dwelling must be given to a Building Control body before work begins, unless the work is undertaken by a person or firm registered with a Part P ‘Competent Persons’ self certification scheme.

Whether or not work is notifiable is dependent on the nature of installation work proposed and its location within a dwelling. The location is important because some ‘special installations or locations’, such as kitchens and bathrooms, may pose a greater risk to people.

To help you decide if you need to notify the Buildings Control Department before any work begins we have put together a quick reference guide which covers the common electrical work carried out in and around the home, garden and outbuildings.

Example of job to be done.
Do I have to notify the
Buildings Control Department.
 
Location
 
Not in a kitchen1 garden or special location2

Kitchen1 garden or special location2

Replacing an immersion heater
No
No
Replacing a light fitting
No
No
Replacing a damaged accessory, such as a switch or socket outlet
No
No
Replacing a damaged cable in a single circuit (must be like for like)
No
No
Connecting equipment to an adjacent connection point
No
No
Connecting a cooker to an existing connection unit
No
No
Connecting a storage heater to an existing adjacent wiring point
No
No
Adding a spur to an existing final circuit
No
Yes
Adding a lighting point to an existing final circuit
No
Yes
Adding a socket to an existing final circuit
No
Yes
Installing extra-low3 voltage wiring and equipment for telecomms, information technology, control or similar.
No
Yes
Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding
No
Yes
Installing a new final circuit
Yes
Yes
Adding or replacing consumer unit
Yes
Yes
New installation or rewire
Yes
Yes
Installing extra low3 voltage lighting (excluding pre-assembled CE marked sets)
Yes
Yes
Installing electric floor or ceiling heating
Yes
Yes
Installing electric sauna
Yes
Yes
Connecting an electric shower to an existing connection unit
Not Applicable
Yes
Installing a new supply to a detached outbuilding
Not Applicable
Yes
Installing a lighting point or socket outlet in a detached outbuilding
Not Applicable
Yes
Installing a garden pond or fountain pump including supply
Not Applicable
Yes

Note: For situations not covered in the chart, reference should be made to Approved Document P to find out whether or not the work concerned is notifiable. In cases of doubt, the building control body should be consulted.

1 A kitchen is defined in The Building (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2004 as 'a room or part of a room which contains a sink and food preparation facilities'. (A utility room, though it may contain a sink, does not fall within the definition of a kitchen if it does not contain food preparation facilities.)

2 'Special locations' include locations containing a bath or shower, swimming or paddling pools and hot air saunas.

3 Extra-low voltage is defined in BS 7671 as 'normally not exceeding 50 V a.c. or 120 V ripple-free d.c., whether between conductors or to earth'.

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